Blue cohosh is a plant with yellow flowers that grows in North America. The root has been used to induce labor or menstruation. Blue cohosh has also been used to ease digestion. It has been taken as a pill, powder, or extract. Blue cohosh has also been made into a tea. It is likely not safe to take blue cohosh.
There are no advised doses for blue cohosh.
What Research Shows
There is not enough data to support that blue cohosh is helpful in treating health problems. We will review future studies as they are published.
Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.
It is likely not safe to take blue cohosh.2,4,5,7 Blue cohosh may raise blood pressure and blood sugar and cause other health problems. Women who are pregnant should avoid blue cohosh.1,3,6 No studies have been done to say whether it is safe for women who are breastfeeding.
Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse.
1. Dugoua JJ, Perri D, et al. Safety and efficacy of blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides) during pregnancy and lactation. Can J Clin Pharmacol. 2008 Winter;15(1):e66-73.
Pearl PL, Drillings IM, et al. Herbs in epilepsy: evidence for efficacy, toxicity, and interactions. Semin Pediatr Neurol. 2011 Sep;18(3):203-208.
3. Hall HG, McKenna LG, et al. Complementary and alternative medicine for induction of labour. Women Birth. 2012 Sep;25(3):142-148.
4. Jalili J, Askeroglu U, et al. Herbal products that may contribute to hypertension. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2013 Jan;131(1):168-173.
5. Rader JI, Pawar RS. Primary constituents of blue cohosh: quantification in dietary supplements and potential for toxicity. Anal Bioanal Chem. 2013 May;405(13):4409-4417.
Dante G, Bellei G, et al. Herbal therapies in pregnancy: what works? Curr Opin Obstet Gynecol. 2014 Apr;26(2):83-91.
Brown AC. Heart Toxicity Related to Herbs and Dietary Supplements: Online Table of Case Reports. Part 4 of 5. J Diet Suppl. 2018 Jul 4;15(4):516-555.
Last reviewed July 2019 by EBSCO CAM Review Board
Last Updated: 2/14/2020